May 18, 2017, 11:17 am
Hypertension kills 8 million people every year and its incidence is expected to go up by 60 per cent in 2025. It is a leading risk factor for heart diseases, pregnancy complications, diabetes, and dementia among other ailments. However, it is important to know that hypertension is preventable.
Sedentary lifestyle, increased stress, unhealthy eating, smoking and alcohol consumption all contribute to the increased risk of hypertension. The fact that most people do not know about their hypertensive condition is extremely worrisome. Hence, it is extremely important to spread awareness.
So what's hypertension? According to World Health Organisation (WHO), hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump.
Know your blood pressure
Monitoring blood pressure is very important because the higher the blood pressure, the higher the chances of health issues. Since high blood pressure has no symptoms, it is considered a silent condition.
According to Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), "Blood pressure (BP) should be monitored regularly because it is a barometer of health and there are often no symptoms to alert one to the presence of high BP. It's a silent killer. By the time symptoms develop, some damage has occurred to the target organs like eye, brain, heart, or kidney. Mostly, BP should be taken at each doctor's visit. In addition, one should always remember the rule of 20 in hypertension."
If the blood pressure is high, it puts an extra strain on the arteries and the heart. Over a period, this strain can cause the arteries to become to become thicker and less flexible or become weaker. As a result, the arteries become narrow, making them more likely to become clogged up, explains Dr Sameer Pagad, Interventional Cardiologist, K.J. Somaiya Hospital Super Specialty Centre.
If an artery gets completely clogged up (known as a clot), the condition can lead to a heart attack, dementia, kidney disease or a stroke or even lead to death.